Psychologists use assessments to help determine the emotional and intellectual levels at which individuals are functioning.
Educational Assessments: Educational assessments can be administered to diagnose learning disabilities, developmental delays, social and emotional difficulties and to identify intellectually gifted youngsters. The results help us to pinpoint areas of cognitive strengths and weaknesses. We can measure skills, knowledge, as well as intellectual capacities and aptitudes to help make predictions about performance.
Educational assessments can help to pinpoint why your child appears to be underperforming in the classroom, as well as the specific skills and academic areas that should be addressed. These assessments can also identify the child's intellectual strengths.
Most achievement and ability tests are standardized and objective. This means that when the particular test was developed, it was given to large numbers of people for whom it was designed. Their scores determined the benchmarks that are used to interpret the results. The most common of these are intelligence (IQ) tests. They are designed to be administered on a one-an-one basis by a trained evaluator (such as a psychologist or psychometrician) or to a group of people. Individually administered tests tend to be more reliable and more comprehensive.
In some cases, we also observe the child in the classroom to better determine the behaviors that might be tied to academic performance problems.
Personality and Behavioral Testing: Psychologists conduct personality tests on children, adolescents and adults to measure traits and behavior. The results help determine an individual's personality strengths and weaknesses.
Objective tests generally limit answers to "yes" or "no" or "true" and "false." Results are measured and compared with those of the large population that previously took the tests. Objective tests can be used to identify particular aspects of one's personality, and they are often used as screening devices.
Projective tests are far more open-ended. An example is the Rorschach, in which the test taker describes what each of ten different inkblots brings to mind.
Neuropsychological Evaluations: Children, adolescents and adults who have experienced a traumatic brain injury or who might have brain damage take these tests to measure their levels of functioning and to identify specific areas of strength and weakness. Neuropsychological assessments show how well an individual can perform activities that depend on different aspects of brain function. Impairment can be associated with subtle kinds of dysfunction that cannot be detected by physical scans that indicate physical or electrical brain abnormalities.
These standardized tests examine language functions, attention and memory, problem-solving abilities, visual-spatial weaknesses and sensory and motor skills.
We use the results of the neuropsychological evaluation as the basis for a treatment plan to enhance the individual's ability to function.